Small changes make big differences.

Tuesdays with MOJO/Warm up with food

Marjorie Spitz RentoComment

Brrrr, it’s cold outside, at least in NYC. says it will go up to 37 degrees, but as I write this it’s 27 and “feels like 22.”

Did you know that in addition to wearing layers, certain foods beyond hot soups and beverages actually warm you and help your body maintain balance?

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), foods are based on “yin and yang,” and an excess of one or the other can result in a body imbalance.

Your body changes constantly over time, and your environment changes seasonally as well. The foods you ingest impact energy level and healths, and thus eating cooling and warming ones at the appropriate times will “balance your internal climate.”  

For example, in a cold environment, the body tends to hold on to fluids (often because blood vessels constrict and we’re dehydrated), and has a hard time holding onto heat, thus eating more warming foods can balance that out.

Cooling foods have yin qualities (darkness, coolness, wetness), and the effects of clearing heat and toxins.

Warming foods have yang qualities (lightness, warmness, dryness), and the effects of improving circulation and dispelling the cold.

Ironically, food doesn’t have to be hot to be warming. Ginger, garlic, cinnamon, iced coffee(!), and almonds are among warming foods, whereas broccoli, bok choy, green tea, lettuce and mushrooms cooling.

I’m a big fan of cooked over raw foods in the cold months to keep my digestion running smoothly.

So experiment and see how you feel. With it being diet-season, notice if after eating that salad you still feel hungry and even cold. Add or replace it with cooked vegetables and note any changes.

Grab some foods scientifically proven to keep you warm, like iced coffee, iron-rich lean meat, whole grains and complex carbs (which require a lot of energy to digest and will keep you full), and sprinkle with ginger or cumin. Yum!

Who knows, maybe you can even peel off a layer!

Warmfully yours,

Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™